Press Release
November 27, 2013


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III today asked for a Senate inquiry into the worst violence yet to hit the administration of President Aquino, saying there is an urgent need to investigate deeper into the bloody siege that was perpetrated by Muslim gunmen believed to be followers of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari.

Following requests made by the local leaders of Zamboanga City through a resolution, Pimentel said that he is asking for a thorough probe to prevent the occurrence of the violent attack in the future because of the disclosures that the supposed MNLF gunmen had already established their foothold in the city unnoticed months before the siege took place.

Misuari, himself, along with his three commanders and the 57 other members who were captured during the siege that began on Sept. 9 and claimed 244 lives in the three weeks of fighting that ensued, were charged with rebellion by the government. He remains at large with his three leading commanders, Habier Malik, Bas Arki and AssaminHusin.

Citing intelligence reports, Pimentel said that the supposed MNLF gunmen had already stored their weapons and set up their operational posts as early as January 2013 in the City to surprise government forces for what transpired to be a well-funded attack that displaced 118,819 people, burned 10,160 houses and caused property damages estimated at billions of pesos.

"The main objective of this investigation is to prevent a similar attack from happening in the future," said Pimentel, adding that Zamboanga City was also the bloody scene of the Cabatangan siege by MNLF fighters in 2001.

He said that the people of Zamboanga City, many of whom are hard pressed in coping with rehabilitation efforts, have suffered enough from the twin attacks that "they don't deserve a third incident in the future."

Councilor Rommel Agan filed the resolution that was unanimously approved by the City Council, asking the Senate to lead the inquiry into the siege which government authorities believed was masterminded by Misuari although he was not physically present at the scene of the bloody exchanges of firepower.

Aside from rebellion charges, Misuari and his group were also charged with violations of international humanitarian law over the hostage-taking as well as setting fire to houses that forced more than 116,000 people to flee their homes.

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